i Cryptic Crossword 3681 by Dalibor

November 24, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): ⏳⏳⏳⏳

Quite a challenging offering from Dalibor this Thursday. The longer answers across the top and bottom of the grid were a gift as far as checking letters go, but some of the shorter answers (in particular the elder statesman at 15ac) would prove to be less forthcoming.

I note complaints in the comments on the other side regarding the GK required for 1d and 25ac, but the latter is surely quite an old joke most solvers will have been familiar with, and if you don’t know who the Velvet Underground and Nico are, then you should, and I can highly recommend the album they did together.

More problematic was OBVIATION rather than OBVIATING at 6d, and INNOCENCE rather than INNOCENT from “[b]eing simple minded” at 12ac, both of which stopped me in my tracks.

Was I the only solver to confidently jot in MANN for 8ac?

Positive overall though, with much to enjoy, my CoD nomination going to 4d – “Company without ownership is something extraordinary (7,8)”.

All the answers and parsing of the clues can be found in Fifteensquared’s blog from November 2018:



9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3681 by Dalibor”

  1. Grodnik said

    Only ⏳⏳ today, although solving on the net version rendered 12ac unparsable for me, and was clued completely differently in the dead tree version and the fifteensquared blog. “Purple Chinese”, please enlighten me someone. 11ac went in very quickly as it reminded me of an old Benny Hill joke (Richard Murphy more suitable for the BBC at the time). No quibble about Hudson Bay being a sea, it is almost twice as large in area as the North Sea. Have to agree with CoD selection. It made me chuckle. NDY

    • thebargee said

      Purple Chinese Houses is a flowering plant, also called Innocence. I wonder why the clue was changed?

      BTW, I’m half way through ‘Life of an MP’, thoroughly enjoying it, so thanks for mentioning it a week or two ago.

  2. Saboteur said

    I put Mann in where it should have been FINN, and that held me up until I had to accept I was wrong. Which I don’t like doing. 🙂

    Fairly tough, and I would have rated this ⏳️⏳️⏳️⏳️ as well. Some really good stuff which I found nicely chewy, in a good way (a sort of treacle-toffee crossword). Lots to like and appreciate. The only one I was unclear about was OUT OF HAND, where the first definition seemed odd.

    I did know about Mark Knopfler and Nico, but I do see that this might not be in everyone’s list of what counts as GK.

  3. Cornick said

    Treacle toffee indeed.
    Really liked the DICTATOR link with DIRT and CATO, also the S club 7 clue for SPUTTER.
    No problems with the Nico GK at 1d; indeed that was my nom de plume for my first ever crossword on Alberich’s site – partly cos it’s my ‘rapper name’ (the first two letters from your first and last names) and partly cos I saw the incomparable German singer on her harmonium doing a solo gig in a tiny club in Leeds in the mid 80s – one of the best shows of my life.

  4. thebargee said

    As tough as they come hereabouts, but my brain is slightly foggier than usual this week. I really struggled to finish in the SE corner, and spent far too long on 8a, having repeatedly read the first word as ‘follow’ and not ‘fellow’. Should’ve gone to that other optician.

    Elsewhere, I am only vaguely aware of Velvet Underground/Nico, so the parsing of that one was a complete mystery. Not so with Mr Knopfler though, 25a was a write-in.

  5. Cornick said

    No-one’s mentioned the rather unusual definition in 1a. As you maybe know, there are 193 member states in the UN, so the definition involves the ‘Don’t insinuate’ bit, and it’s a sort of definition by negation of an opposite assertion, if you will.

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